Bell says its initial 5G network is ready, but notes it’s not the right time to launch it

The carrier stated that it's not focusing on 5G right now

Bell CEO Mirko Bibic states that although the carrier’s initial 5G network is ready, it is not focusing on 5G right now amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the carrier’s investor relations call following the release of its Q1 2020 earnings, Bibic noted that it is not the right time in terms of marketing to launch Bell’s 5G network. He also noted that it doesn’t currently align with consumers’ interests and needs right now.

As for the 3,500MHz band spectrum auction scheduled to take place in December, Bibic stated that Bell hopes it goes on as scheduled. He noted that if it does get delayed due to reasons related to COVID-19, he hopes the auction will at least take place sometime close to the originally scheduled date.

In February, Bell announced its partnership with Nokia as one of its 5G network equipment suppliers. The carrier noted that this was its “first” 5G partnership, and that it needed to be able to work with several equipment suppliers like Huawei, Ericsson and Cisco.

However, it’s important to note that the government has yet to decide if Huawei will be allowed to participate in the deployment of 5G in Canada, and that Bell is still awaiting this decision.

In terms of its Q1 2020 earnings release, Bell’s total wireless subscriber base totalled 9,977,557 at the end of the quarter, which is a 5.2 percent increase from the same period a year ago. The carrier also reached its best churn ever with a rate of 0.97 percent.